'So Shiny, So Chrome' takes place 13 years after The Fall, a combination of the Oil Wars that came to a climax with a nuclear event. Our setting is the Wasteland, once the Australian outback. Wildlife mutated by radiation prowls the wasteland; weather is harsh and highly unpredictable; roving gangs of survivors fight for what remains of precious resources.
What a day, what a lovely day.
----- Season: Winter Weather: Days 8°C/Nights -10°C
Winter has descended once again on the Wasteland as merciless as ever. Days are cold, and with little cover the high winds are all the more biting; even without snow, hypothermia and frostbite are a constant threat. The only relief is that many of the Wasteland's creatures are in hibernation.
[presto][/presto] The Vuvalini were a gracious bunch of women. When they had found Yue on the verge of death in the desert, they had taken her in, nursed her back to health, taught her English and made her one of their own.
And right now, every fucking one of them was driving her crazy.
In particular, two of them were now pregnant after their most recent venture into town to find suitable males to make children with, a concept that on its own boggled the mind; why in the actual fuck would anyone want to have babies at a time like this? When this was the world they would come into? To say nothing of Yue's own lifelong disdain of children; oh, she'd never been outright mean to them, but Yue never had the faintest idea what you were supposed to do with this thing that wanted your attention...
With grubby fingers and snotty noses and their tendency to shriek for no reason--
If not for the rattling of her motorcycle, Yue might have shuddered to think. She'd taken off on her heavily modified bike through the dunes to get some time alone, and to tend to a task she'd recently taken up both to kill time and to flesh out an idea.
A brown snake had slithered into the Green Place, and Yue had casually crushed its head with a length of lead pipe; the other Mothers, apparently having a much better understanding of the creatures they shared the land with, had collectively lost their shit when Yue had brought it to the cook to be butchered and eaten. From what one of the older women had told her later (when everyone had settled down), brown snakes were some of the most venomous reptiles on the continent and should be avoided at any cost.
So naturally she went out looking for them, with a couple of dead (mutated) rats and a burlap sack tied to her belt, an incredibly thick glove on her hand, and a makeshift snare made from a thinner piece of pipe and a loop of thick cord.
One place she'd seen them frequently was between the Salt Plains and the Green Place, snapping up rodents and hissing at each other. Yue put down the kickstand, dismounting her bike and walking with muted footsteps towards the flatter, more firm stretch of land occasionally broken by miniature sand dunes and scrub brush. It didn't take long for her prey to show, though this one wasn't quite the same as the snake that had made its unwelcome appearance in their home; this one was darker and had a black head, and seemed much more placid as it slithered along the ground, perpendicular to Yue.
This was definitely one of the stupider things she'd ever done.
Putting on the glove, a rat in one hand and the snare in the other, she crouched low to the ground to put the rat down; the snake continued on. Yue hissed to herself, irritated that this wouldn't be as quick a venture as she'd thought. Wandering into an area infested with snakes would be madness; so she waited, snare poised the moment anything reared its head.
967100 - Crash ae2a3a - Xiang Yue
Last Edit: Oct 19, 2015 20:06:12 GMT -5 by Xiang Yue
Crash had Lightning wound up somewhere around 140mph over the flatlands on his way back to The Wash from a place called Bartertown. Royal shithole as it was, people there seemed poised to do some business so he figured it was as good a place as any to do some trade. Scrapper would be able to do is song and jive to get some things done there.
He had taken off his gas mask and put on his leather bandana. He hated wearing that bloody thing but Scrapper insisted when the pathfinders were in a town, they had to wear it to protect the group. He eased back into the seat as the landscape flew by him. He caught a glimpse of what looked like a person out to his left before he went sailing by them about 100 yards away. He dicded to see if they need some help. He started to slow his car down and hit a wide u turn. He pulled his daytona up next to the bike facing the opposite way and shut off the engine, then unfolded himself out of his car. He looked around till he laid eyes on a woman squatting down and looking over her shoulder at him.
His silver hair was tied in a ponytail and down to his lower back. He was wearing a battered bomber jacket and dark canvas pants. He called out to the woman. "Oi! You there! Do you need some help or something? It's dangerous to be out in the flats alone!"
[presto][/presto] Catching snakes was a very involved task, making sure she didn’t walk past one that might try to strike at her ankles or scare away potential prey; it was one that, like anything Yue put her mind to, she became entirely engrossed in.
In the relative safety of the Green Place, it was a boon; out here, alone and unconventionally armed, it was a liability.
The snare and the rat as bait worked better than anticipated; Yue had already bagged 2, and had just gotten her hand around the base of the skull of a third before she realized she had company. She swore under her breath as the truck pulled up right next to her bike, the door opening and the driver emerged.
He was at least an entire foot taller than her, and most certainly outweighed her by fifty or more pounds (probably more). The fact that half his face was covered by a bandana only served to add to the intimidating figure, mostly backlit by the sun.
The length of lead pipe Yue usually carried around as a self-defense weapon was lashed to her bike… which the strange man was standing right next to.
"Oi! You there! Do you need some help or something? It's dangerous to be out in the flats alone!"
Yue narrowed her eyes; she was a good read of people, it was impossible to tell with the bandana over his face whether or not his concern was genuine, or a ploy to get Yue to let her guard down so he could… do whatever it was he might be planning to do. Steal the bike? Kidnap the rider? Both were likely options.
The snake in her hand squirmed, angry and uncomfortable. Without taking her eyes off the man, Yue put the creature into its sack (where it writhed around in agitation before settling down). The snare was a good six feet long, enough to keep him at some distance away (if he didn’t manage to take it from her); Yue prayed she didn’t look as nervous as she felt holding it in both hands like a staff.
”Who are you?” She demanded, enunciating against her Chinese accent.
Crash saw the woman's cackles stand and knew he had spooked her. She was so tiny compared to him. He glanced over at her bike and walked away from it and sat on the back of lightning facing her with his arms raised.
He shouted back to her, trying to make his Irish tone seem light. "The name is Crash, lass. I was passing by and saw you and your bike at a stand still, didn't know if you needed any help. Thought I would stop and offer some if ye be needin it."
He put his hands down and on either side of him on the quarterpanel of his car, making sure his jacket spread out and his two revolvers showed, just in case things weren't what the seemed, and also to show he wasn't really a threat to her with his hands away from his guns. He took a gamble, hoping he wouldn't spook her anymore then he already had.
[presto][/presto] The man glanced at her bike, and for the briefest moment she started forward, half expecting him to start rifling through the bags; it wasn’t as if a petite woman with a stick was particularly intimidating. But, instead, he meandered away from the bike and sat on the back of his car, hands raised where she could see them.
"The name is Crash, lass. I was passing by and saw you and your bike at a stand still, didn't know if you needed any help. Thought I would stop and offer some if ye be needin it."
He lowered his hands, pushing his jacket aside where two revolvers were clearly visible, glinting in the sun; by all measures, now would have been a good time for diplomacy to find out why he had really stopped; few men in this day and age stopped to help a woman solely out of the goodness of their hearts.
If anything, showing his hand (or his weapons, in this case) made her angry.
”Help?” She scoffed, brandishing the stick at him, ”You claim you stop to give help, but you show woman with stick you have guns?”
Yue’s English had the tendency to suffer when she was angry; she was still trying to grasp the language’s odd grammar, but for the moment, being grammatically correct was pretty low on her list of priorities.
Crash's gamble had backfired. He was hoping showing that he was armed but hands away from his guns showed her he wasn't a threat. Apparently that hadn't worked so well.
"Unlike most men these days, I still remember the lesson's my ma beat into me as a kid. Sorry if my guns spooked ya, that wasn't my intention. Now do you need any help? I honestly mean you no ill will lass." Crash said almost remorsely. He hated how everyone is so paranoid now that the world had been turned on its head. Apparently common decency was rarer then clean water in these parts of the wastes.
Crash then did probably the stupidest think he could. He unbuckled his gun belt and tossed his revolvers in his car through the open passenger window. he still had a small 38 he kept in his boot just in case, but now his big iron wasn't going to be any use to him if she did have friends hiding. He then leaned back against the quarter panel of his car.
"There, me guns are no longer near me, and you have the advantage." He said pointing to her stick. Hopefully that would calm her down.
[presto][/presto] Yue snorted at the man’s Crash’s insistence that he remembered what his mother (‘Ma’ was still ‘mother’, right?) supposedly beat into him as a child.
”Most men remember,” She replied warily, ”But they do not care.”
Case and point, the reason the Vuvalini never went anywhere alone, only in groups to discourage frustrated men who likely hadn’t seen a woman in a long time; Yue had fended off her fair share of them with the Many Mothers, and far more when it had just been her and Michael. Apparently, it had never occurred to many of them that their luck would have been far better simply by being nice than attempting to take what they wanted; it would seem that of all things, age-old stereotypes had survived the end of the world.
Michael had only had to be told ‘no’ once and had never tried again. A damn shame that he was the exception, rather than the rule, in this day and age.
She half expected the man to get angry in return, or to get back into his car and drive away; never in a million years did Yue imagine he would remove his gun belt and toss them into the cabin of the car where they’d be well out of reach from his place leaning against its side.
"There, me guns are no longer near me, and you have the advantage."
Well, not really. Yue had a stick, which being longer than her body was clumsy to try and wield like a weapon, and he most certainly had reach and weight on her.
But, then, if he’d wanted to harm her, he most certainly could have done it by now; there was every possibility he was trying to get Yue to lower her guard, but without guns it had evened the odds somewhat if he did harbor ill intent.
And he didn’t know about the snake in the sack tied to her belt.
Yue huffed and shouldered the snare.
”What is ‘lass’?”
Better not be any kind of insult, or he most certainly would wish he’d kept those guns strapped to his side.
”You want to help? Hold this.”
She held up the last empty burlap sack; as it turned out, catching the snakes wasn’t as bad as she thought, if just a bit tedious. The hard part was putting a squirming, angry animal shaped like a rope into a container (like a sack) that didn’t like to hold a shape convenient for putting things into it.
If she could figure out how to milk it for venom, it could be used either as a weapon by coating their weapons in it… Or, potentially, they could trade it to the medic in town, make a sales pitch that he could use it to make antivenom (which in turn, they could trade to get back and potentially reverse-engineer).
Crash cocked an eyebrow at the outstretched back and walked over gingerly to take it from her. At least now he was getting somewhere.
"Lass means lady in my native Ireland. I'll hold the bag for ye, but are you hunting something? And what might your name be?" Crash stated almost tripping over himself trying not to be imposing. He hoped he hadn't steamrolled the lass with his statement and freaked her out more. He simply opened the canvas bag as wide as it would go.
[presto][/presto] So full of words, this one. But he took the sack as directed, bumbling in his strange accent that 'lass' apparently meant 'lady', asking what she was hunting, asking what her name was...
She doubted his name was Crash. Yue's handle on English names wasn't the greatest, but she was quite certain Australians didn't actually name their children after violent collisions of cars... even if it did fit this time and place.
Yue raised a finger to her lips, spotting movement further into the brush and pointing towards it; snare ready, she crept forward a few paces and dropped into a crouch, baiting the snare with the last dead rat. In the hours she'd been out here, Yue had (sort of) found a technique: put the rat in the snare and tease the snake with it and encourage it to chase its prey. Put it down within reach, and if she was fast enough, she could snare the snake when it went after the rat.
Sure enough, another brown snake; possibly investigating the smell of rat she'd probably left all over the area with her bait. Yue extended the snare, dangling it a little ways away from the snake. It slithered closer with curiosity, seeming rather placid as if it was uncertain whether it was hungry enough to try and take the bait. She put the rat down to see what it would do.
She sighed and rolled her eyes when it slithered away.
"I hunt that." She replied finally, not looking over her shoulder at 'Crash' and scanning the brush for other movement.
Perhaps it was growing up in a city, only having seen dangerous reptiles in pictures and on television, Yue had never really been raised to fear snakes the way some of those living in the country did; the only animals she'd really been much in contact with were cats and very small dogs, hardly the stuff of phobias.
"... Yue." She supplied, glancing over her shoulder, "Crash is not your real name, is it?"
967100 - Crash ae2a3a - Xiang Yue
Last Edit: Nov 19, 2015 22:49:21 GMT -5 by Artemis
Crash saw her silence him then turn her attention to the brush. When she crouched, so did he, even if his knees objected to it from sitting in the car for so bloody long. What he saw slither out of the brush made his blood run like ice water. A eastern brown snake decided to come out of hiding. Crash cursed inwardly at leaving his pistols in the car now staring at the 2nd most venomous snake on the planet not ten feet from him.
He then proceeded to lose his shit when he saw the woman trying to catch the bloody thing! He wanted to cry out and ask if the woman was insane but he didn't dare breathe let alone utter a sound. After a few tense moments the deadly nope rope slithered off and Crash let out a low breathe. He listened to her short statements, then the last question caught him off guard. Not to many people wanted to know his real name. He tossed around the idea of actually answering it.
"Jarius be my real name. Crash was my nickname in the U.S. Navy. Hadn't had much use for my given irish name since everything went to shit. Now would you mind enlightening me as to why your are hunting venomous snakes?! Surely you aren't that hungry that you're risking your life for a small meal?" Crash said trying not to loose composure at the last bit to much.
[presto][/presto] And just like that, she had an accomplice in this psychotic venture of hunting venomous snakes; as the snake slithered away, ‘Crash’ and his accent (Irish, apparently) were off again.
"Jarius be my real name. Crash was my nickname in the U.S. Navy. Hadn't had much use for my given irish name since everything went to shit. Now would you mind enlightening me as to why your are hunting venomous snakes?! Surely you aren't that hungry that you're risking your life for a small meal?"
Truth be told, some of that rant became lost in translation, but no language barrier could hide the barely-disguised hysteria in his tone at the mention of hunting snakes; Yue raised an eyebrow at the suggestion that she was hunting them for food.
”Not food,” She replied in a hushed tone, still scanning the brush for movement, ”Venom. To make… how do you say… not-venom?”
Whatever prefix this confusing hodgepodge of languages called English used for the antidote for venom. Not-venom? The point remained the same.
Crash, or Jarius now, didn’t need to know that Yue wasn’t going to use all of the venom to make the antidote; if she followed the suit of several of the other Vuvalini and sewed the bones and teeth of dead animals onto her gloves like claws and dipped them in venom, they would be a far more effective weapon.
If a double-edged sword.
”’Navy’. I don’t know this word.”
967100 - Crash ae2a3a - Xiang Yue
Last Edit: Oct 24, 2015 13:54:16 GMT -5 by Artemis
Crash saw the lass had trouble with his speech and tried to clean up his accent a bit more.
"The Navy is the sea going military for the United States." He replied. "Damn smart idea to milk these things for their venom, but what happens if you get bit? Do you carry any extra anti venom?" He asked. He didn't know whether this woman was crazy for doing this or if he was dumb as a brick trying to help her. He reckoned it was a bit of both.
[presto][/presto] Anti-venom, that was the word she'd been looking for; though at the inquiry as to whether or not she had any in the event she was bitten, Yue turned to look at him over her shoulder with the universal look of 'are you serious?'
"Need venom to make anti-venom." She replied, enunciating slowly to be sure he understood how well thought-out his statement wasn't.
Granted, it had been a long time since any formal militaries had existed, but there were enough paramilitary groups rolling around in repurposed uniforms that Yue was at least mildly surprised that Crash-slash-Jarius didn't look the part in the least, especially not with that long hair that she suspected was even longer than her own.
A soft rustle in the bushes caught her attention; Yue crept forward with the baited snare to tempt whatever was making that noise. Another snake, though this one looked worse for wear with two heads sprouting out of one body; she had absolutely no idea if 2 heads meant twice as much venom, but she was just crazy enough to find out.
This one took a lot faster than the others, snapping at the rat with both heads; while one sank its teeth into the rat, the other hissed angrily as its body thrashed against the snare that closed around its neck. Grabbing its tail, Yue turned to Crash with the snake to put into the bag.
Crash silently nodded at her response. Hell of a thing to go through but with pre war meds dwindling to practically zero, it made sense. He went to say something but caught himself when he caught movement out of the bush. He watched her move to bait then hook the snake. When she turned with it he opened the pouch and prayed the gloves on his hands where thick enough to protect from a snake bite.
"Have to admit, you either skilled or insane lass." Crash said as she stuffed the wriggling nope rope into the canvas sack.
[presto][/presto] Truth be told, Yue was hardly so noble as to go risking her neck for snake venom for the production of anti-venom and the betterment of the wasteland; she was much more interested in the potential for venom to be used to trade or to weaponized (especially in the case of men, who, unlike Crash so far, didn't remember or didn't care what their mothers had taught them about how to treat a lady).
If she got anti-venom out of the deal while she was at it, that was just a bonus.
"Have to admit, you either skilled or insane lass."
For calling her crazy, it sounded rather like a compliment. The snake was still hissing and wiggling in the sack, clearly very unhappy by its predicament; now came the process of trying to milk them of venom. Yue had stretched a latex glove over the top of a mason jar, having only the memory of documentaries to give her any kind of clue how a professional did it.
Hence the very, very thick glove on her hand.
"Maybe both," She replied cryptically, walking back to her bike and digging out the mason jar.